English 142 - Spring, 2022

Early American Literature

Class Information

Instructor: Ziser, Michael
CRN: 62155
Time: TR 9:00-10:20
Location: 115 Hutchison
GE Areas: American Cultures, Governance, and History Writing Experience


This course is an advanced introduction to the key writers of the "old, weird America"--from the flabbergasted reportage of English explorers in the 16th and 17th centuries to the bizarro 18th-century novels of the fledgling United States. We'll misinterpret Pocahontas with Capt. John Smith, examine miscarriages alongside John Winthrop, taste fawn fetus with Mary Rowlandson, summon divine ravishment with Edward Taylor, experience frontier loneliness through Anne Bradstreet, cast spiders into the abyss with Jonathan Edwards, mock our rivals in their own pages with Ben Franklin, and sow profound existential confusion with Charles Brockden Brown.


Weekly In-Class Discussion 10%
Weekly Discussion Posts (8x2.5%) 20%
Short Assignments (3 x 5%) 15%
Project I 20%
Midterm Reading Exam 7.5%
Project II 20%
Final Reading Exam 7.5%


Norton Anthology of American Literature, Ninth Edition, Volume A: American Literature to 1820 (NY: Norton, 2017), Robert S. Levine, ed.